I recently finished listening (through Audible, my new best friend) to Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen, and though I’m not a businessperson, I am always looking for easier ways to organize my life and apply this to my schoolwork, my job, and volunteering. My main takeaway from this book was that a lot of it applied to disorganized, stressed professionals – which I am not – but that didn’t mean there was nothing to gain for me.
One of my favorite ideas from the book was the idea of a complete and total inbox. On my desk (which is currently a mess, but I’ll fix it, I promise), I have a 3-tier file organizer that is a complete mess – therefore, I don’t use it but for storage. After finishing this book, I plan on rearranging my desk setup so that I have an inbox on the top tier, my notebooks for my current classes on the second tier, and scratch paper/printer paper on the third tier. The inbox idea is not just for an office, in that other workers put stuff in your inbox to deal with and send back to someone else, but the same idea is applied to your personal projects. Each piece of paper is something you have to deal with, whether that be a piece of blank paper with the words “buy new HDMI cable” on it or an insurance renewal form you have yet to fill out. I like the idea of turning my desk space within my apartment into more of a home base and a workspace, one that I can just sit down and start handling my things at.
Another idea from the book that I had already begun implementing in my life, but that really cemented it for me, was turning anything with more than one to-do item on it into a “project”. I use Todoist pretty extensively and have recently converted my mom into using it as well for all her home projects. It makes it so much easier to create projects and sort out my life that way, using the labeling systems within Todoist and making it completely cross-platform (if you like Todoist, I highly recommend this chrome extension) from my laptop to my phone to my browsers. I love how easily I can sort out my class projects, my personal projects, etc. Even this blog is listed as a project on my Todoist, with some recurring todos each week to remind me on which day to write, which day to create graphics, etc (along with one-time improvements I would like to implement). Creating an easy-to-use project system is a huge benefit to my life, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t already done so. So would David Allen.
One final thing I want to talk about is the 2-minute rule. Now, you may have heard about this from productivity gurus galore, but David Allen talks a lot about this in his book. The premise is simple: If it takes 2 minutes or less to complete, do it now. I don’t feel like I should have to explain this any further – if you think of something right now while reading this, and it takes less than two minutes (like shoving a load of laundry in the dryer or starting the dishwasher that’s full of dirty plates), do it!
I would touch on the other things I loved about this book and all the methods that I want to implement into my life, but I highly encourage you to just read it or listen to it yourself. It’s a great read, and if you listen to it on Audible, David Allen even narrates it himself. I highly recommend it whether or not you’re the disorganized professional.
If you have a book you’d like to recommend to me, leave it in the comments or DM me on Instagram!
Krys Kestrel (@kryskestrel on ig)